People unfamiliar with the process involved in building a house extension or new family home can be confused about the difference between planning permission which is granted by the local planning authority (ie the local Council), and Building Regulation details and drawings that we provide to either the local authority’s Building Control department or to an ‘Approved Inspector’ working for a private organisation.
Building Regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building, both domestic (residential) and commercial. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and, for new build houses, facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings. Planning permission is concerned about external appearance including siting, size, use, context, access and compliance with the local plan and national planning policy. Building Regulations are developed by the government and approved by Parliament and are the same standard or specification throughout England. Whereas planning permission can be subjective, the decision as to whether or not the Building Regulations’ requirements are achieved is far more objective.
It makes sense to have a full set of architectural drawings drawn up for your new project and any necessary planning permission granted before you think about obtaining Building Control approval for the Building Regulation details provided by your architectural designer. This means that any fine-tuning required by the planning authority can be incorporated within the Building Regulations details and removes the need for subsequent amendments to the drawings.